To commemorate ANZAC Day we talked about the service that soldiers carried out during the war and still do around the world.
Our tamariki made poppy necklaces and baked ANZAC biscuits. We also listened to the Last Post and discussed what it meant. We were lucky that some whanau were able to share photos and stories to show what their own relatives did. Despite their young age, our children show a lot of understanding and empathy for what days like ANZAC Day represent.
Marking days like ANZAC Day can help children feel a sense of belonging
Marking national days allows us to extend the children’s learning and help them to find their place in New Zealand and a connection to their country. This supports the Te Whariki strand of Belonging. This strand talks about children knowing that they have a place, affirming links with family and the wider world. It also talks about showing respect for others.
Our centre also celebrates Matariki, when we celebrate language and new beginnings as well as our connection to our ancestors. For Waitangi Day we hold a Kiwiana Day where we celebrate everything Kiwi including talking about the Treaty. This includes discussions about how we can work together to look after our country. One year we created our own Treaty which recorded how we would commit to caring for each other, our toys and the environment.
These occasions also give us a chance to develop and practice other skills in a new context. When the tamariki baked ANZAC biscuits, we learnt not only about why we eat these biscuits but also practised measuring and maths. When we coloured poppies, the children practised fine motor skills. The children also showed listening, turn taking and sharing skills during the group activities.
We hope that by doing these activities at the centre it gives our families a starting point for talking about New Zealand’s history and culture. And for talking about their own family connections and history.